Week ahead: Supreme Court weighs health law’s fate

The court is set to hear six hours of oral arguments over the healthcare law — a modern record. The proceedings begin Monday with a debate over whether the court can issue a ruling on the law’s individual mandate before it goes into effect in 2014. The justices will tackle the fundamental constitutional issues Tuesday.

Both sides of the case are confident heading into this week’s arguments, and both have reason to be. There is no clear consensus among legal experts about which way the court is likely to rule, making any clues from the justices’ questions all the more important.

Lawyers, advocacy groups and lawmakers are also planning a slew of public events around the Supreme Court proceedings. Healthcare advocates will hold news conferences in front of the court every morning, while a group of conservative Republicans, including Rep. Michele BachmannMichele Marie BachmannKlobuchar urges CNN town hall audience: 'That's when you guys are supposed to cheer, OK?' Michele Bachmann praises Trump: Americans will 'never see a more godly, biblical president' Will Biden lead a 'return to normalcy' in 2020? MORE (R-Minn.), are holding a big rally Tuesday, shortly after arguments end.

The other big health development this week is the House vote on Rep. Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanAmash: Trump incorrect in claiming Congress didn't subpoena Obama officials Democrats hit Scalia over LGBTQ rights Three-way clash set to dominate Democratic debate MORE’s (R-Wis.) budget, which contains overhauls of Medicare and Medicaid. The House on Wednesday will start considering Ryan’s budget and four alternatives — including a more conservative option from the Republican Study Committee and a main Democratic alternative — followed by a vote Thursday.

On Monday, Sen. Sheldon WhitehouseSheldon WhitehouseThe Hill's Morning Report - Tempers boil over at the White House Democrats urge Rick Perry not to roll back lightbulb efficiency rules Trump DOJ under fire over automaker probe MORE (D-R.I.), chairman of the Senate Judiciary subcommittee on Crime and Terrorism, will host a field hearing in Providence on Medicare and Medicaid fraud.

On Tuesday, the House Education and the Workforce Committee will hold a hearing dedicated to “learning the lessons” of the Upper Big Branch mine explosion that killed 29 miners in West Virginia two years ago. And the House Energy and Commerce subcommittee on Health will hold a hearing on the Food and Drug Administration’s regulation of cosmetics and whether a national uniform standard for ingredients is needed.

On Thursday morning, the House Ways and Means subcommittee on Health will hear testimony on the healthcare law’s individual and employer mandates. That afternoon, the full Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee will hold a hearing on FDA user fees for medicines and medical devices.

Off Capitol Hill, the nonprofit National Committee for Quality Assurance will present its annual Health Quality Awards on Tuesday.

And the FDA has promised to decide by Saturday whether to ban the chemical Bisphenol-A (BPA) from food and beverage containers.